Making Mistakes

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. 

~John Wooden

Fear keeps me from doing many things.  What if I fail?  Even worse, what if I look stupid?  

The only real failure is if we don’t learn anything. Forward progress is success! So don’t let fear keep you from taking action. Whether the result is what you hoped for, or not, you will know more than when you started. 

Get out there!  Make mistakes!  Get in the game!

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Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
~Benjamin Franklin

A young friend of the family went on the trip of a lifetime.   As part of her preparation, she sent letters to family and friends asking for money.  After a few weeks, she was able to successfully fund her adventure.

Shortly after she arrived back home, we received a letter of thanks for our support.  The closing line of the note said, “Thank you for helping me achieve my life’s goal of traveling to Australia!”

“Wow!” I thought.  “She achieved her life’s goal at 17.  Now what?”  

If she doesn’t create a new goal her life will languish.  At 17 that’s a lot of languishing. Knowing her setting new goals won’t be a problem.  However, for some of us it might be

As I mentioned in the last post, achieving a goal isn’t the interesting part.  At least it shouldn’t be.  It is the journey, including all the struggles, the highs and the lows, that holds the value.  The journey is the meal.  Achievement is just the desert that may come at the end.

Setting goals is important because they give shape and direction to our efforts.  They should be considered markers to help us determine if we are on the right track.  And once we achieve them, we should celebrate, briefly, then start the next goal.  We need to spend much more time celebrating and enjoying the journey because without continued growth and progress we may as well be dead.

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Its All About the Work!

The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.

~Joshua Waitzkin

I find this to be a very liberating thought.

My wife and I have been watching a series of retrospectives about famous rock bands.  One of the things that struck me was how hard these folks worked before they became famous. Most of them spent years perfecting their craft.  As a society, we don’t see (and certainly don’t celebrate) all the effort, work, and time that goes into becoming “an overnight success.”

So, the lesson for me is that talent and ability can help you get where you want to be, but don’t rely upon them.  Instead, set your goal then put in the hard work and roll with the punches along the way.  At some point you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come.

After all, reaching your goal isn’t really the interesting part.  It’s the journey part that’s exciting and invigorating, but more on that later.

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